Long answer – If you want to increase sales using social media, you must think beyond the share.
Let me explain in detail and provide you some specific actionable advice.
Seeing Beyond the Share
Mistake #1: Most people who are new to social media marketing think that the best way to increase sales is to share links to their landing page, home page, product page, or to a squeeze page. The mistaken assumption is that the more links you share to your website conversion page, the more traffic you will get. In turn, more traffic leads to increased sales.
If you do this, what will happen is the opposite. People will tune you out, and write you off as a self-centered loser who is not adding value to their social media network. If you are doing this, then you must read this post titled: Only losers sell on social media – How to sell and not be a loser.
Mistake #2: On the other hand, another mistaken assumption is that you should rarely share links to your own website. Instead, you should share blog post from top influencers to build your credibility as a go to source for thought leader content. By doing this, you will increase your exposure and this will ultimately lead to increased sales over time.
This is another rookie mistake. You must share content that leads back to your sales conversion page in order to increase sales. There is no way around it. If you are doing this, then there is a really detailed post I recommend you read titled: Don’t Make a Rookie Mistake: Social Media Exposure vs. Increased Sales.
So if you can’t blast out links to your website to increase sales, and you can’t leverage content from industry influencers to increase sales, then what should you do?
How to Increase Sales using Social Media
Based on my experience as the co-founder of Nichevertising with a primary responsibility of increasing sales, I’ve found that the only way to increase sales using social media is through content marketing.
As I stated in one of the post mentioned above:
In order to do this, you must stop treating stop treating everyone like a sales lead and start treating them like your audience (click to tweet this). An audience you must educate and entertain or risk getting booed off the stage.
If you sell security software, then you must educate your social media audience about best practices for securing their phones and tablets and tricks to create secure passwords.
If you sell real estate, you must educate your social media audience on getting the best deal and negotiating prices.
If you sell art work, then you must educate your audience on interior design and home decor.
If you sell jewelry, then you must educate your audience on the latest fashion trends and styling the right outfit.
To Increase Sales You Need Pre-Qualified Leads
The reason why creating educational content leads to increased sales is because it allows you to discover the people in your social media audience who are ready to buy. The reality is that most people who follow your social media pages are not qualified buyers. Content marketing allows you to create a funnel that spits out pre-qualified sales leads, filtering out those who are not ready to buy.
Once you find people who enjoy the educational content you share and trust your industry expertise, you start selling to them like crazy.
After someone signals that they are interested in your blog, ebook, or webinar, you can then assume this person is a sales ready lead. This is when you share your landing page and product pages and start going hard for the conversion. This is how you sell with social media.
5 Step Process to Increase Sales using Social Media + Content Marketing
To conclude the answer to the question- can social media increase sales? – here is a 5 step process that leads you to the definitive answer of YES.
Step 1: Establish credibility and build your audience by sharing educational and entertaining content from top industry influencers.
Step 2: Start creating your own educational and entertaining content (blog, ebook, webinar) using the blueprint learned from the top industry influencers.
Step 3: Start sharing less content created by the industry influencers and more of the educational content you create.
Step 4: Pre-qualify the people who enjoy learning from the content you share as sales ready leads.
Step 5: Sell like crazy to those who make it through this funnel.